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**More calls for explanations from EA** A Thought on the Possibly Unjust Account Bans

- - - - - account bans calls ea explanations possibly thought unjust

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22 replies to this topic

#1
Tabbitha

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Llewen starts a further request for more information from EA as more 'innocents' get banned

~~~~

Ok, there are some people posting that they have been unjustly banned and somebody else posted about how he was banned and rares dealers had been coming to him with rares to dupe. He would pay them, dupe the rares, then give them back.

What if it isn't the rares dealers themselves he has been dealing with? What if these are honest people who have had their accounts hacked, but instead of stealing everything, they simply rented out their items to a duper, then put everything back the way they found it and left.

A hacker who was really smart might do this very sort of thing. It would make him or her immune to account bannings. No one would know they had been hacked, so there wouldn't be any investigation or hue and cry. If the hacker was lucky, the victim wouldn't even change passwords so the account would be open for further exploitation in the future if it wasn't banned.

I'm pretty sure a script could be created that would ensure that everything was put back exactly as it was before the hacker took over the account. What if at least some of these people who claim to be innocent really are, and have been victimized by a hacker?


~~~~


Nails Warsteinsays


Considering I know someone who was hacked, and they only lost a few items, this theory has some weight to it. Why does a hacker have to delete characters and houses if he knows how to dupe? Since I know 5 people hacked since Spring, all rares collectors, this wouldn't surprise me at all. Most of them were on Napa Valley.

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#2
Tabbitha

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Fox (Europa)has this take on the subject

Here's my take on it...

After the last round of dupes EA put in place a mechanism to track dupes. Not hard to do, just track the spontaneous creation of an item not resulting from crafting. They then applied their long-standing policy of giving people enough rope to hang themselves and let people create and trade in dupes for a few weeks. Then they banned every account flagged.

Of course the ‘professional’ dupers got just their trial and empty accounts banned. Those crying here are those daft enough to use their main accounts to ‘test the dupe to be able to report it to EA’ and who bought duped items at 50% or less than the usual prices. So the ones making lots of $s from duping got a bunch of cash and the minor inconvenience of creating some new accounts; the real losers being the regular players stupid enough to try the dupe and/or buy cheap dupes.

Personally I think the EA approach of entrapment stinks. It still allows duped items and gold to enter the game; it then does little to punish the for-profit cheaters but does a nice job of punishing the stupid.

Fox


~~~~

Llewen clarifies
#
I should clarify, I expect that the vast majority of the bans were just and warranted, but there are one or two that make me wonder. And I know, if I had the technical expertise, and didn't want to be caught, something like this would be exactly how I would do it.

A hacker doing what I have described would run very little risk of ever being detected, or of facing any kind of consequences. If you empty an account and/or change passwords, it will be detected the instant the player makes their next attempt to log on, and you can bet the police will become involved as well.

Let's say, just for the sake of argument that I am a very smart person who has access to the sites where cheats, dupes and hacks are discussed and shared. I know that person "x" knows a few dupes, but doesn't have much worth duping. So I set up a website with some fairly useful game information that is relatively hard to come by. I make sure that the search engines catalogue my site. I install a script or a trojan on my website that loads the instant you load the page. The script or trojan steals account names and passwords and emails it right to my address, runs for a week or so, and deletes itself.

Then it is simply a matter of looking through the accounts for a few that have valuable items that are worth duping, and researching when these players are on and when they aren't. I find what guilds they are in, and maybe join their guild, then I keep asking for that person. "I have something for ***, is she on? Do you know when she might be on? Hmmm, I'm not going to be around until Wednesday, is she usually on then?" You get the picture.

All I need to do is find one or two victims that run museums. Or perhaps I become friends with them and get into their houses. I show them something rare and ask them what their favourite things are. Once I have some victims chosen, and have a good idea of when they will be on or off, it is just a matter of contacting my acquaintance the duper.

I tell him I will rent him some nice rares to dupe for a price. We arrange the price and payment, I tell him who to meet and where, and make it clear he can only have the items for a few minutes. In the meantime I've created a script that gives accurate positions and facings for items and characters. The dupes only take a minute or two, so I get the items back right away, replace them and the character, log out, and no one is the wiser.

I walk away with a few grand, maybe more, and a month or two later my victims' accounts are banned in a massive crackdown on duping and cheating, and they have no idea why the hell they have been targeted.

This scenario may seem far fetched. But believe me, it isn't...


~~~~

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#3
Tabbitha

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Nusaircame up with an interesting theory.

Here's one for you:

Draconi's been gone how long and JUST came back? And we JUST get a supposed post from speedman? And the bannings at the same time?

What if for the past couple of weeks they've been watching people, tracking people, reading though chat logs (anyone who thinks their cyber chats aren't being watched / saved to a harddive somewhere are just deluding themselves. You should see some of the stuff I've got, and that's just from stealthing- GREATEST SKILL EVER!!!) and data mining.

What if that's what they've been working on, and now we are seeing the fruits of their labor.....


~~~~

After the thread derailed to the topic of hackingMaximus Neximus[/Bbrought it back on course.I will end with his last two posts.COLOR]

What makes the situation bad is that the "1%" have no chance of clearing their name. A friend of mine tried to do this got no help. Here was the response...

----------------

"Subject I would like more information on why my account, xxxxxxx, was banned today... Discussion Thread Response (EA Rep Baxxxxxx) 08/04/2008 06:31 PMGreetings,

Thank you for contacting Ultima Online Support.

I am very sorry to hear of your account being terminated. However, you were found to be in possession of a multitude of highly illegal items in Ultima Online. Due to the severe nature of this ToS violation, your account was terminated. Sufficient evidence was verified to justify this termination.

Please be advised, we cannot give specific detailed information as to what items were in possession but be assured that we have fully investigated each case separately and found your account to be in violation.

The action taken against your account was just and will stand. If you would like to see any changes made to our Rules and Policies, please feel free to submit feedback via the UO Herald by visiting
Ultima Online

Any further replies regarding this subject will not be acknowledged."

---------------

My friend transfered a couple times but has 100% for sure never duped. They bought gold a couple times from brokers, but never a big amount. I find it completely absurd that they won't even acknowledge a customer any more... You better believe they're closing the rest of their accounts and that saddens me.


....

Can we get any official word as to why EA will not tell people what they were banned for or give them a chance to debate it.


~~~~

[B][COLOR="DeepSkyBlue"]Dont hold your breath too long there Maxus
:(

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#4
Gnomy

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Fox (Europa)has this take on the subject

Here's my take on it...

After the last round of dupes EA put in place a mechanism to track dupes. Not hard to do, just track the spontaneous creation of an item not resulting from crafting. They then applied their long-standing policy of giving people enough rope to hang themselves and let people create and trade in dupes for a few weeks. Then they banned every account flagged.

Of course the ‘professional’ dupers got just their trial and empty accounts banned. Those crying here are those daft enough to use their main accounts to ‘test the dupe to be able to report it to EA’ and who bought duped items at 50% or less than the usual prices. So the ones making lots of $s from duping got a bunch of cash and the minor inconvenience of creating some new accounts; the real losers being the regular players stupid enough to try the dupe and/or buy cheap dupes.

Personally I think the EA approach of entrapment stinks. It still allows duped items and gold to enter the game; it then does little to punish the for-profit cheaters but does a nice job of punishing the stupid.

Fox


~~~~



Fox is spot on here.. Too many UO people are greedy and will buy cheap and in bulk if they can.. which in most cases are dupes. Then they get banned and wonder why. Is this fair? No.. maybe not. Lesson? Dont be greedy.

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#5
Adrianna Danere

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Fox is spot on here.. Too many UO people are greedy and will buy cheap and in bulk if they can.. which in most cases are dupes. Then they get banned and wonder why. Is this fair? No.. maybe not. Lesson? Dont be greedy.


Agreed. Pretty much anyone who knows UO well enough to amass the millions to buy loads of duped valuables also knows well enough that such items wouldn't exist in those amounts at such low prices without something fishy going on.

It is however debateable whether or not people should get banned for buying stuff even if they most likely did know or at least suspect the items being illegal somehow... it's not like they can be sure after all, and they themselves haven't done anything illegal game mechanics wise.

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#6
Silverfoot

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Bottom line for me is, I don't see EA/Myth throwing away subscription $$ without firm reasons.
*shrugs*

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#7
merth

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agreed Silver!

#8
Aurelius

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Bottom line for me is, I don't see EA/Myth throwing away subscription $$ without firm reasons.
*shrugs*


If EA/Mythic can, as they claim, trace duped items, they can also delete them. If they did that promptly, there would be NO problem. At all. No drama, no screams, no hassle.

Here's a scenario to consider :

Company look at the costs of employing competent programmers, accomodating them, paying insurance etc. to sort out the real underlying problem, and create an automated deletion of any duped item no later than server maintenance after it has been made.

Company looks at the scale of the problem, and works out how many of their customers they could afford to lose before they lost as much as they would have to spend on sorting out the problem.

Company decides to go for it with a clumsy system that might look a bit like they're solving something, as they can take the losses from a few banned, and a few leaving, customers far more easily than they can meet the staffing costs.

#9
Silverfoot

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Not buying any of it. Sorry, but folks can spend all day coming up with conspiricy theories. I have, possibly, a unique point of view, cause I know for a fact how hard they research this stuff.

*shrugs again*

If EA/Mythic can, as they claim, trace duped items, they can also delete them. If they did that promptly, there would be NO problem. At all. No drama, no screams, no hassle.

Here's a scenario to consider :

Company look at the costs of employing competent programmers, accomodating them, paying insurance etc. to sort out the real underlying problem, and create an automated deletion of any duped item no later than server maintenance after it has been made.

Company looks at the scale of the problem, and works out how many of their customers they could afford to lose before they lost as much as they would have to spend on sorting out the problem.

Company decides to go for it with a clumsy system that might look a bit like they're solving something, as they can take the losses from a few banned, and a few leaving, customers far more easily than they can meet the staffing costs.


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#10
Aurelius

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Not buying any of it. Sorry, but folks can spend all day coming up with conspiricy theories. I have, possibly, a unique point of view, cause I know for a fact how hard they research this stuff.

*shrugs again*


Fair enough, you knew how they used to do it - but I've seen nothing to persuade me that anything close to enough is done to sort out the underlying problem, which is duping of items.

If it comes to a choice between trusting people I've known online, and in some cases met RL, not to be cheating, and EA/Mythic being properly accurate and professional in handling bans, clearly we'd differ on who we trusted.

#11
Muu Bin

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Nusaircame up with an interesting theory.


"Subject I would like more information on why my account, xxxxxxx, was banned today... Discussion Thread Response (EA Rep Baxxxxxx) 08/04/2008 06:31 PMGreetings,

Thank you for contacting Ultima Online Support.

I am very sorry to hear of your account being terminated. However, you were found to be in possession of a multitude of highly illegal items in Ultima Online. Due to the severe nature of this ToS violation, your account was terminated. Sufficient evidence was verified to justify this termination.

Please be advised, we cannot give specific detailed information as to what items were in possession but be assured that we have fully investigated each case separately and found your account to be in violation.

The action taken against your account was just and will stand. If you would like to see any changes made to our Rules and Policies, please feel free to submit feedback via the UO Herald by visiting
Ultima Online

Any further replies regarding this subject will not be acknowledged."


There is no way that this type of response would fly in the real world. It is such a cop-out for EA/ Mythic to say "we have proof", but then not provide one iota of evidence to back that up. On top of that they completely wipe the account and the possessions so that even if someone with deep enough pockets wanted to take legal action, they wouldn't have anything to look at.

In no way am I standing up for anyone here because I don't personally know anyone who has been banned. I just find it beyond comprehension that this it the type of canned response that they hide behind. It is a slippery slope that they are on... and one that will continue to drive away the customer base.

#12
Silverfoot

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Fair enough, you knew how they used to do it - but I've seen nothing to persuade me that anything close to enough is done to sort out the underlying problem, which is duping of items. .


Your right my experience with them is a number of years past. I just don't see them doing away with the type of documentation they required to ban a person before.

If it comes to a choice between trusting people I've known online, and in some cases met RL, not to be cheating, and EA/Mythic being properly accurate and professional in handling bans, clearly we'd differ on who we trusted.


I've learned one thing in all these years of online play. You just never really know who's doing what. If your saying I trust EA/Myth without question, well no there is always room for error in a banning like this. As I've said before.

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#13
Aurelius

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If your saying I trust EA/Myth without question, well no there is always room for error in a banning like this. As I've said before.


Not exactly, I'm saying we all decide for ourselves who we trust, and you and me disagree, that's all. I'd certainly not suggest anyone rational (in which I include you!:)) trusts a company 'without question', doing anything without question is almost always a bad idea.

I'll argue for my position, and you for yours - which is what forums are for, I hope. :)

#14
Silverfoot

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I'll argue for my position, and you for yours - which is what forums are for, I hope. :)


Absolutely!!

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#15
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it then does little to punish the for-profit cheaters but does a nice job of punishing the stupid.

sounds about right.

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#16
eXilius333

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I am disappointed by people's views on this thread. Such as,

...does a nice job of punishing the stupid.
Fox


Fox is spot on here.. Too many UO people are greedy and will buy cheap and in bulk if they can.. which in most cases are dupes. Then they get banned and wonder why. Is this fair? No.. maybe not. Lesson? Dont be greedy.


Agreed. Pretty much anyone who knows UO well enough to amass the millions to buy loads of duped valuables also knows well enough that such items wouldn't exist in those amounts at such low prices without something fishy going on.


First I want to say I have nothing against OSI or the banning. My point is about your points, here, expressed.

So I quit UO back in 2001 (i think) and then came back around the time AOS came out for about 1/3 of a year. Now I came back again two weeks ago [and no my account is not banned]. And I have no clue what the value of each of these new rare items is, nor that my shrouded cloak was worth as much as I was told (if true). I'm just trying to play the game and find the enjoyable time I once had. So then I hear about this duping and I wonder to myself the following: How am I supposed to know what is worth what? You see to me I have no old friends who play UO anymore (thus no direct sources) nor do I have the time to go read up (and subsequently verify) the value of all the items (which differ on each shard) I find in vendor shops. I honestely was not expecting to see so many different things. Thus, I don't think it's as *simple* as "don't be greedy". From my point of view it's called "don't be riped off by those vendors near the moongate". This makes me wonder about all of the items I went out and bought two weeks ago uponing joining again. The "gold i had *amassed*" was from the past (bank) and thus how could I know *well enough* that those items don't exist in quantities. Infact, almost every vendor I viewed had at least one thing I had never seen before. Furthermore some had a lot more than what I had thought possible (back in time). These two points led me to assume (naturally) that this is the way the river flows.
When I see a *wide* range of prices, I interpret that as eagerness to sell (cheap), accidental zero drop-offs, rip-offs (maybe by towns), or possibly what the person thought that item was worth, to him, to sell. After so many years of Ultima thriving and patching, I actually *did* believe that such massive duping was impossible. Of course there have always been bugs in Ultima, but I had thought that if someone were to duplicate items it would be minor.

I'm not trying to point fingers at your reasoning as so much as to offer my direct vantage point.

I'm glad that I had not bought hordes of any items, however I was considering it with some certain items I will not mention here.

#17
CageJohnson

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I agree with eXilius333. I was only gone for a little over a year, but even when I played, I had no idea how much things are worth.

I've also been caught on both sides of a deal where a zero was missing from one of the checks. Accidents happen.

In happens in real life too. Sometimes online vendors is Europe do currency exchange rate wrong and you get something for at least 10% off.

Or, as an example from last fall, KMart had 20% off any one item for the month of November. For the two weeks, they had no exclusions. A lot of LCDs, PCs, 360s and PS3s were sold in that time before they got the announcement out to all the stores to exclude electronics.

Point is, we're all consumers, and we're always looking for the best deal. I'd compare to Luna to Target, its not as cheap, but you have a feeling you can trust most of the prices there. But I wouldn't go to a Yew Moongate (a pawnshop) and buy an item missing 3 or 4 zeros from its known price.

#18
Arquestian

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I think it still comes down to the fact that we pay to play this game. It is not our responsibility to verify what we are buying in game, with in game money.

If you like looking over your shoulder all the time, or spending a good deal of your playtime verifying prices, then by all means continue on. As for me, I don't care for it. If there are duped items out there, EA needs to take care of it by deleting them, and fixing the dupe.

This isn't like going to a shady pawn shop to buy a diamond ring, or sporting event tickets. This is like going to your local furniture store to buy a television that is on sale and then the police show up and arrest you because it was stolen, and you spend the next 20 years in prison.

They won't say what is duped, there is no way for players to know something is duped (even low prices happen on things not duped), therefore the ones at fault, and who should be punished are the people on EA's team not doing their job finding the way to fix this. As usual however, they punish the players instead...this is common in online games.

I am all for banning people duping items, but banning players for buying duped items when there is absolutely no concrete way to be sure just shows how ignorant EA has become. And there really isn't any way to know, I could buy lets say a Mark of the Travesty for 2 million gold which is low, and it could be a valid item, or I could buy one for 50 million and it is duped, price means nothing.

#19
Nydon

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Arqu , i could not agree with that post more . very well said !!
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#20
Pameleigha

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IPoint is, we're all consumers, and we're always looking for the best deal. I'd compare to Luna to Target, its not as cheap, but you have a feeling you can trust most of the prices there. But I wouldn't go to a Yew Moongate (a pawnshop) and buy an item missing 3 or 4 zeros from its known price.


I have to agree with most of what you say, Cage, But as the only active Tram Yew Moongate vendor on Chessie at this time I have to say Just because it is not Luna does not mean it is a "Pawn Shop" nor a fencing operation for dupers. You were probably just using Yew as an example, but people could take that seriously and I feel I need to refute that statement.

By the fact that one person that recently got banned on Chessie owned 4 Luna vendor houses there, I would have to say quite the opposite is evident, but not necessarily true either. (Dumb, I know, but I am not saying Luna vendors are all cheaters, not even sure the guy that got banned was as he was banned for having the items, not actively duping them) This is a sad situation.

I have run that vendor shop in Yew since 2002 as honestly as I can. I have bought items to resell, but, thankfully not since I got burned by the duping of the evil furniture items quite a few years ago. I do check Luna prices to base my own, but because of not being in Luna, I price lower to get customers to take the time to recall to my shop (Or take the gate)





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